SPACE drama Gravity dominated the Oscars with a haul of seven gongs – but it was Steve McQueen’s 12 Years A Slave which scooped the most prestigious award of the night for Best Picture.
The slavery epic also collected awards for Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Supporting Actress for Lupita Nyong’o on a night when it seemed Gravity might sweep the board.
The outer-space hit picked up a handful of Oscars for its backroom staff – many of whom are British – and the Best Director award for Alfonso Cuaron.
But McQueen, the former modern artist-turned film-maker, enjoyed his moment in the spotlight as the ceremony in Los Angeles ended in triumph for his film based on the story of a free New Yorker, Solomon Northup, kidnapped and sold into slavery in the Deep South.
McQueen, a Londoner who now lives in Amsterdam, dedicated the award to “all the people who have endured slavery and 21 million people who still suffer slavery today”.
The Best Actor Oscar went to Matthew McConaughey for Dallas Buyers Club, while Cate Blanchett was named Best Actress for her role in Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine, pipping Bullock, Dame Judi Dench, Amy Adams and Meryl Streep. McConaughey’s co-star Jared Leto was the first big winner on the night and promised to celebrate to “the break of dawn”. Les Miserables star Anne Hathaway handed the Oscar for best supporting actor to Leto for his role as an HIV-positive transgender woman in the film.
There were two early British wins with the visual effects team behind Gravity picking up an Oscar, before the award for Best Documentary short went to The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life – a week after its inspiration, pianist and world’s oldest Holocaust survivor, Alice Herz-Sommer, died in London at the age of 110.
Director Malcolm Clarke, who now lives in Canada but learned his trade at the BBC and Granada TV, dedicated the win to her “extraordinary capacity for joy and her amazing capacity for forgiveness”.
The event, known formally as the 86th Academy Awards, was broadcast around the world from the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles in the early hours of this morning.Host Ellen DeGeneres opened the show with a string of gags poking fun at the event, before the technical expertise of the UK film industry was recognised when Gravity picked up awards for sound mixing and sound editing.
Bill Murray paid tribute to his Ghostbusters co-star Harold Ramis, who died last month, before handing over another award – this time for cinematography – to Gravity, which continued to pick up prizes when director Alfonso Cuaron and Mark Sanger won the Oscar for film editing.
Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch joined Jennifer Garner on stage to present the award for production design to The Great Gatsby, before the Oscar for original score went to Steven Price for Gravity.
The musician from Nottingham thanked his family, joking: “Mum, Dad, Jenny, sorry I made so much noise while I was growing up.”